February and March is the time of year that many college students iron out their plans for the summer and possibly even the following fall. While many are only concerned about vacations to the beach with friends, many attend career fairs and apply for internships that will help them build a great resume for their post-graduation job hunt. This year, it seems that more companies are willing to invest in interns, and a National Association of Colleges and Employees (NACE) study found that 97% of employers plan to hire interns and co-op students this year. That could be a sign that the economy is trending in the right direction.
“What we found is, as the economy took a dip, companies were reluctant to invest” in the programs, UC Davis Internship and Career Center project manager. But, “now, they’re interested in investing in the future. It’s an early indicator that things are getting better.”
With more resources available for hiring talent, recruiting becomes paramount for businesses who want to bring the best people to their company. While good interns can be beneficial in the short-term, many companies work to groom them for full-time positions later on. Doing so has proven to be difficult in the tough economy, but improvements could lead to increased competition for top talent, which helps both young adults getting ready to enter the job market and businesses looking to hire them.
“For the most part, having an internship opportunity gives the student the mindset of working in that career,” recent UC Davis graduate Trevor Rackley said. “They’re very important and with a start like that, why wouldn’t we want to keep them?”
“It’s becoming increasingly competitive to secure meaningful employment,” explains Doug O’Grady, Sales Director at Sales Force Search. “People recently out of school have to look for ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd. An internship is a great way to learn, and more importantly a great way to show a future employer the value that they can bring to an organization.”
One thing that career service professionals, students, and recruiters need to consider during this time is that, quite simply, academics still need to come first. As The Daily Princetonian notes in an editorial, “Juniors participating in the process may be unable to effectively shop classes. In addition to being behind on work, they may also find themselves in classes they do not want to take as a product of not being able to attend introductory lectures to determine whether the material and the professor teaching it are a good fit for them.” That kind of issue could lead to a number of problems for students, and make the internship recruitment process a detriment.
Career fairs present great opportunities to both students and recruiters. As the economy improves, they might become far busier and more important, but maintaining a balance between school and their future career will remain an important priority for students.